At the beginning of WWII, German troops supported their field equipment via a system of aluminum belt hooks attached to canvas suspenders that were worn inside their tunics. In 1939, far more practical, external suspenders were introduced, Koppeltragegestell für Infanterie" . There were two main styles, referred to as "lightweight" and "combat" Y-straps today. Issue of these did not become widespread until 1941. By the following year, they were universally used by Heer and Waffen SS troops in all theaters. Both leather and canvas webbing versions were manufactured.
Our Y-straps are the only ones on the market made with the correct WWII pattern backstraps and hardware. The other reproductions "feature" postwar Austrian pattern backstraps, bronze rivets, and faithfully utilize the rear hooks from Luftwaffe "lightweight Y-straps" for the front hooks. A few hyper-authentic models even sport chrome hardware to help you stand out in the crowd.
Models: There were several changes made to the Y-straps throughout the course of the War, and I have assigned model numbers to each to simplify identification. These are not official wartime German designations!
For the "Stitch-Nazis", we offer a higher quality "Texled" versions, made with US leather and the highest quality hardware available.
Long Sizes: For those over 6ft in height, the German Y-straps are often painfully short. In the 1990's I had one original set that was in awful condition but was indeed longer- it was from those that I had our "long" cutting dies made. That said, in the 20 years since, I have owned over 100 other sets and have never found any that were other than the "standard" size.